About this Blog

This blog features byline and original articles, but much more of my work is available by following my social media accounts. That’s where I point to important 3rd party articles I find elsewhere, often with my knowledge and insight added in comments. This is what I do every morning:
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The Medical Cartel is Keeping Health Care Costs High

Watch "The Big Heist," a satyrical documentary about our broken healthcare system

In 2010, the small town of Collegedale, Tennessee had the dubious distinction of having the highest prevalence of Type II Diabetes in the world. Without a single endocrinologist in the small town, those suffering from this preventable and treatable form of the disease were unable to gain access to the treatment they needed.

Dealing with this issue firsthand, a local employer who operates a donut manufacturing plant decided to dedicate a portion of his warehouse to be used as a health clinic. By hiring an endocrinologist from Chattanooga to travel to his warehouse a few days a week, his employees were finally able to receive the help they so desperately needed.

The employer reasoned that the prices associated with the hiring of an endocrinologist were actually less costly for the company than the insurance expenses related to the disease.

The donut maker’s free market solution solved the problem of constrained supply of medical professionals for his employees. But this disconnect between supply and demand exists far beyond Collegedale. In fact, the country is experiencing a shortage of doctors in virtually all specialties and every state, which begs the question, where are all the doctors?   Read More …

Smart Home Technologies For Mature Homeowners

2016 research by The Hartford and The MIT AgeLab revealed their Top 10 Smart Home Technologies For Mature Homeowners (press release below).

They conducted joint research to better understand which smart home technologies may benefit homeowners over the age of 50 and get their perspectives on smart home technology. This research involved an extensive review of new smart home technologies by leading experts in housing, aging, and technology and an online survey of homeowners.

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies

Smart home technologies that may make life easier, help with home
maintenance, and enhance safety and security for homeowners 50+.

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies
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Get the Health Incentives Right

Fixing our broken healthcare system, reducing costs, and improving care all comes down to getting the objectives and health incentives right.

Motivation - Fixing our broken healthcare system, reducing costs, and improving care all comes down to getting the objectives and health incentives right. This post is based on a comment I made when Pritpal Tamber called for “Creating a parallel system to health care” in MedCity News back in 2014.

At least for consumers, Modern Health Talk (www.mHealthTalk.com) can already be called the “Institute for New Health Thinking,” with well over 100 articles on Legislative, Public Policy, and Health Reform topics written for consumers, and over 700 on modern health topics in general.

I personally think fixing our broken healthcare system all comes down to agreeing on objectives and getting the INCENTIVES right, as I wrote five years ago when proposing a hybrid, public/private model of health care. The goal then was to exploit the different incentives of (1) capitalism and private sector organizations that measure success in business terms such as profit, ROI, and payback period, contrasted with (2) the public sector, which measures success quite differently and over much longer time periods.  Read More …

Politics and The Modern Killing Fields

Politics and The Modern Killing Fields

I begin with this widely shared Facebook post by Dr. Wallach that calls out unscrupulous doctors, and I follow with my perspective of the modern killing fields caused by public policy.

THE KILLING FIELDS…. Dr. Joel Wallach

“The United States had lost 56,000 military personnel in Vietnam over a ten-year period, for an average of 5,600 per year. Millions of people poured out into the streets to protest these lost lives. We had political anarchy for the last three years of the Vietnam war because of these deaths. And because of these deaths, God forgive us, we shot and killed American students at Kent State in Ohio, who were just exercising their First Amendment rights to free assembly and free speech. YET NO GROUP WAS OUT MARCHING IN THE STREETS WITH PLACARDS PROTESTING THE KILLINGS BY THE MEDICAL PROFESSION. Read More …

Fixing Healthcare – Searching for a Healthcare Unicorn

Fixing Health Care is more than Searching for the Healthcare Unicorn

By Brian Holzer MD, MBA, President, Kindred Innovations

[This blog post, originally published on LinkedIn, is based on my personal view and does not in any way reflect the opinions of the current organization I work for].

Last week I came across the article titled, “Cuts threaten rural hospitals hanging on by their fingernails” which reported that 673 rural hospitals were at risk of closing. The data came from the Chartis Center for Rural Health, which also cited that states including California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia were most at risk with as many as 79% of their rural hospitals facing possible closure.

Reports like these that imply an impending doom of the healthcare system, as we know it are almost a daily event. And the sensationalism of healthcare by politicians and the media only adds further distractions to a system that is starving for patience and unbiased pragmatism. There is also no shortage of articles professing solutions that say nothing more than we need to 1) create a system that ensures that everyone has access to health insurance; and 2) make sure that we contain the huge cost increases.

The real problem we are facing as a society is that Healthcare is a Unicorn…Healthcare is not the same as other markets. There is a widespread lack of transparency about both the costs and the effectiveness of treatments, and many other details that a customer or end consumer might use to make purchasing and utilization decisions in healthcare. If life were as simple as it is often taught in business school classrooms, fixing Healthcare should be as easy as learning from other industries and adopting best practices. So, let’s [apply lessons from] two industries-airlines and auto insurance. Read More …

Alzheimer’s Statistics

EDITOR: These [reposted 2015] stats are from Alzheimers.net, an online community dedicated to education, advocacy and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimers.net was created by people touched by Alzheimer’s to give caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s a place to share our passion for change and a cure for the disease. I added a short section on the impact of sleep duration & quality and a related infographic.

Alzheimer’s Statistics Worldwide

2015 Alzheimer's Statistics

  • Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia is most common in Western Europe (North America is close behind)
  • Alzheimer’s is least prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the top cause for disabilities in later life. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)

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Republican Sabotage of Our Health Care System

U.S. Congress sealDemocrats in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions recently released a report warning that Republican actions are causing uncertainty in health insurance markets that is resulting in higher premiums and insurers pulling out.

A Manufactured Crisis: Trump Administration and Republican Sabotage of the Health Care System is summarized here with quotes from insurance companies and regulators across nearly 20 states. Read More …

Trumpcare will kill more Americans than Terrorists have

Trumpcare protesters say, "We need Care, not Chaos."

Today I commented on The Senate’s Trumpcare Bill Will Kill 50 Times More Americans Than Terrorists Have. This FORBES article frames the issue in a way that puts the large numbers in perspective.

According to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office, “15 million people losing insurance translates to at least 18,000 preventable American deaths.” If Republicans simply repeal Obamacare instead, 38,400 would die – or 100 times more than Terrorists have killed. Do I have your attention yet?

My Comment:

Forget politics and ideology for a moment, and look at healthcare from a business perspective, but ignoring the spin of the industry itself. To improve profits, you can either cut costs or increase revenue, or do both. Read More …

10th Apple iPhone Anniversary and Computing Progress

Apple iPhone - 10 years later Before Steve Jobs died, he introduced the Apple iPhone at the Macworld convention in January 2007. The first iPhone units actually shipped to the public on June 29, 2007, so today marks the 10th iPhone anniversary.

This is a good time to look back on the past and project ahead to the future of tech-enabled healthcare. That future will be driven by the exponentially accelerating pace of tech innovation that we call Moore’s Law. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore first observed the trend of circuits and components getting two times smaller, faster and cheaper every year or two.

In Moore’s Law and the FUTURE of Healthcare, I explored that trend and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). We’re already seeing the effects, with the ability of many doctor functions to move down-market from hospitals & clinics to consumers at home. A continuation of that trend will have a profound effect on future healthcare, as I’ve already written about many times on this blog. Future-MooresLaw

In my Moore’s Law article I described the IBM System/370 Model 158-3 mainframe computer that I worked on in the early-1970s as a computer operator. It cost about $3.5M, required a large computer room, and consumed so much electricity that liquid cooling of the processor was needed to supplement room air conditioning. I compared it to an iPhone 4S, which then had 100 times more memory, was thousands of times faster, and had wireless access to the Internet, running on batteries.

We often take for granted how much compute capacity we carry in our pocket — more than it took to land a man on the moon — so as we imagine the future, it’s helpful to reflect on just how far we’ve come, and how fast. Read More …

A Single-Payer Healthcare System for All Americans

KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid. (I got this cartoon on Facebook and decided to share.)

For most of us, getting healthcare in this country is way too hard, as the video at the end shows. So to those in Congress who would make it even harder, I say, “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” with a single-payer healthcare system for All Americans. Read More …

The Aging World – Infographic about global aging

The Aging World - How older generations are affecting countries around the globe

By Matt Zajechowski

During the Middle Ages, English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “Time and tide wait for no man.” Back then, life expectancy was 45 years old, thanks to disease like the bubonic plague, wars, and low infant mortality rates. With the vast, modern improvements in healthcare, hygiene, and diet, populations today can expect much longer, healthy life spans. But living longer has an impact elsewhere, including on the economy and the division of labor and care. Check out The Aging World infographic below to see where older populations are increasing and how they’re affecting the economy. Read More …

Stratus Video Call Center is like a Virtual Waiting Room

Stratus Video Call Center(Reposted — originally published 11/9/2011) As healthcare providers gear up for telehealth, they’ll face new issues such as 24×7 remote monitoring and the need to support virtual doctor visits by telepresence over the Internet. I wrote before here and here, there must be compatibility among different video systems, including the enterprise class-systems in hospitals and consumer-class systems in PC & mobile devices.

Until today, the two prominent solutions I knew about  were Vidyo and a Lifesize Communications technology called ClearSea. Both are cloud-based services that translate between incompatible video systems, but now there’s another option.

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Let’s Change the way we see Health Care

Rather than a Wall, America needs to build a Giant Mirror to reflect on what we've become.

Rather than argue over who pays for what and who gets health insurance or access to care, and who doesn’t, maybe we need to step back and ask different questions, starting with…

“Is basic health care a human right, or is it an earned privilege?”

And if people can’t afford it, does that mean they aren’t working hard enough, aren’t determined enough, or are just Losers and don’t deserve it? Read More …

When Caregiver Robots Come for Grandma

Failing the Third Machine Age: When [Caregiver] Robots Come for GrandmaWhen Robots Come for Grandma is a long and thought-provoking article by Zeynep Tufekci, published in 2014. It builds a case against “caregiver robots,” arguing that they are both inhumane and economically destructive. She got me thinking, and I hope this has the same effect on you.

I would have liked to add my own perspectives and contrarian view with links to related articles here at Modern Health Talk. I’d start with Will Robots Take Over in Health Care? Unfortunately there was no space to add comments, so I use her article as a basis for mine and hope you’ll share your thoughts in the space I give below. Read More …

FCC Broadband Health Imperative – how we responded

FCC Broadband Health Initiative - Modern Health Talk respondsAs a retired IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, consumer advocate, and founding editor of Modern Health Talk, I am please to respond to this FCC action and will describe my background afterwards. What follows is the detailed docket (16-46) with my responses inserted and key points highlighted. Read More …

People Like the ACA, so it’s hard to Repeal. Here’s why.

It’s not surprising that so many people like the ACA (Affordable Care Act), and that it’s been difficult for Republicans to repeal.

ACA (Obamacare) versus AHCA

Here are 12 reasons people like the ACA (also known as Obamacare), along with detail in supporting charts that compare it with the Republican’s American Health Care Act (AHCA). Most of this work is attributed to The Century Foundation.

1.  The uninsured rate across all ages and income levels has fallen to the lowest level on record, thanks to the ACA’s health insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion, and other provisions.

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Ask the Right Questions about Healthcare

Politicians Need to Ask the Right Questions about Healthcare (Photo credit: SupremePatriot.com)

By Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk

Politicians Need to Ask the Right Questions about Healthcare

In Healthcare: Mandatory Coverage or Universal Access?, Dr. Josh Luke presents one perspective – that of a hospital CEO. Readers should know that he represents the medical industrial complex, which also includes insurers, drug companies, equipment providers, and testing companies. Their collective interest is to protect the perverse profits that come from illness and injury, and the fee-for-service incentives that encourage ongoing treatment of symptoms. I found Dr. Lukes’ framing of the healthcare issue too partisan, so I had to respond. My responses form the basis of today’s posting.

What’s the DIFFERENCE between Universal Healthcare and Universal Access? Republican politicians have promoted Universal Access, confusing it with Universal Healthcare. Access, however, only means you can get health care if you can afford it. That’s like having the ability to buy a luxury yacht or summer home, but only if you have enough money to afford it. Progressives instead want Universal Healthcare, a concept I endorse here at Modern Health Talk. It’s efficient and what other advanced nations have. So let’s reframe the issue by asking different questions.  Read More …

American Health Care Act, a Summary & UPDATE

 

By Wayne Caswell, founding editor

UPDATE 3/24/2017 — Not enough Republicans agreed to pass the American Health Care Act, which would repeal much of Obamacare and kill thousands of Americans by leaving them without health care, so they pulled it.

UPDATE 3/24/2017 — Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives scheduled a critical vote today but could not secure enough votes within their own party to pass the American Health Care Act. So Speaker Paul Ryan and and President Trump decided to pulled it. The bill to partially repeal Obamacare would partially fulfill a campaign promise and give tax breaks to wealthy benefactors, but it would also steal from the Medicare Trust Fund, gut Medicaid, and result in the deaths of Americans by leaving them without health care. Pulling the bill was a better option than facing angry constituents, 85% of whom were against it. Read More …

Healthcare as Public Utility

healthcare as a public utility - image of health care practitioner with handheld mobile deviceComputing functions once associated with PCs are moving back to big servers in the Internet Cloud, leaving mobile client devices to handle the user interface (UI) but not the data storage and analysis. I find this shift especially interesting, having grown up in the mainframe world at IBM as computing functions moved to PCs.

In the case of speech recognition and Apple’s SIRI artificial intelligence, even the UI function is now split between client & server. This has huge implications for healthcare, with IBM’s Watson and AT&T’s analytics engine aimed at different parts of the healthcare problem.

The networked mobile device (phone, tablet, etc.) will serve as a health gateway between a host of medical & environmental sensors and cloud-based services that collect & analyze the collected data. The benefits will not just target individual patients but be applied across large populations.

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